Hometown

Alan King, Sr., 37, has lived in the Frayser neighborhood of North Memphis for nearly three decades. In his own words, Alan details his troubled adolescence and how he and his older brother found themselves dealing crack-cocaine on the streets of North Memphis. One day, Alan received a terrible phone call — his brother had been shot. He rushed to be at his brother’s side, but it was too late. Seeing his brother laying dead in front of him on the concrete, Alan saw himself in his brother, knowing that he could just as easily be next if he continued down the path he was on. At just the right moment, hearing of his brother’s death, a leader at the local community center reached out to Alan and offered him a different path — one that would leave the streets behind and allow him to make a difference in the lives of children in his community. Today, over twenty years later, he works as a recreation leader at that same community center, the Ed Rice Community Center, that was a sanctuary for him in his youth – serving as a mentor and role model to neighborhood kids.

Additional Resources

How to download the video for classroom use:

  1. Go to www.vimeo.com/183057483
  2. In the grey bar below the title, click “Download” vimeo-download-toolbar
  3. Click “Download” next to “HD 1080p”. The video will automatically start downloading.
  4. Test to see if your computer can play the video. If your computer doesn’t have a video player that can play .mp4 files, you can download VLC for free at http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html

Xavier

Xavier knows that there are a lot of negative perceptions about his Memphis neighborhood and the people who live there.  And yes, his neighborhood has its share of problems — but there is so much good, too, that goes unrecognized. Unfortunately, he observes that when kids in his community only hear the negative stereotypes, they start to believe that those are their only options. Xavier is determined to change that. He cares deeply for these kids and hopes to provide a positive example for them through the Streets Ministries after school program, where he works part-time in addition to going to college. He knows first-hand the challenges many of these kids face – his own mother died when he was four and his father has been absent from his life. Xavier credits his mother’s accomplishments and his uncle’s example as the sources of inspiration that have driven him to go to college and to work towards a career in forensic science – and he strives to provide that same inspiration to youth in his neighborhood every day.

Additional Resources

How to download the video for classroom use:

  1. Go to www.vimeo.com/180635124
  2. In the grey bar below the title, click “Download” vimeo-download-toolbar
  3. Click “Download” next to “HD 1080p”. The video will automatically start downloading.
  4. Test to see if your computer can play the video. If your computer doesn’t have a video player that can play .mp4 files, you can download VLC for free at http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html

Back on the Clock

Dorothy Turner, 70, tells about starting out as a young, single mother with the added challenge of fighting a debilitating disability, which ultimately caused her to lose her job, her home, and her livelihood. Now, the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) has allowed her to get back on the clock and return to work at a job she enjoys.

Additional Resources

How to download the video for classroom use:

  1. Go to www.vimeo.com/180633408
  2. In the grey bar below the title, click “Download” vimeo-download-toolbar
  3. Click “Download” next to “HD 1080p”. The video will automatically start downloading.
  4. Test to see if your computer can play the video. If your computer doesn’t have a video player that can play .mp4 files, you can download VLC for free at http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html

Para Los Niños (For the Children)

Brigido is a proud father, a loving husband, and a diligent fieldworker. He and his family move with the crop seasons, spending winter and spring in Florida picking strawberries and summer and autumn in Alabama picking tomatoes. Six or seven days a week he rises before dawn to drive to the tomato field where he works. Paid less than a dollar per box of tomatoes, he will often work eight to twelve hours without stopping for a meal — or a complaint. This, after all, is one of the many sacrifices he is willing to make so that his children can have the opportunities he never did — for a good education, for a better job, for a stable home life. Everything he does is for the family he loves.

Additional Resources

How to download the video for classroom use:

  1. Go to www.vimeo.com/180632270
  2. In the grey bar below the title, click “Download” vimeo-download-toolbar
  3. Click “Download” next to “HD 1080p”. The video will automatically start downloading.
  4. Test to see if your computer can play the video. If your computer doesn’t have a video player that can play .mp4 files, you can download VLC for free at http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html

Recipe for Success

What is the value of a positive, caring male role model for a teenage boy? Just ask Terrence Bowen. Growing up in his South Memphis neighborhood, where “violence is everywhere” and “nothing but the worst happens,” Terrence didn’t have a lot of stability. His mom worked hard but struggled with the challenges of raising her son in a difficult neighborhood, and he didn’t even meet his dad until he was 11 or 12 years old. Between moving to different houses and apartments and getting expelled several times for behavioral issues, Terrence went to at least half a dozen different schools throughout Memphis. When he was 16, his mom discovered stolen electronics and other items in his bedroom, and didn’t know what else to do for her son but call the police. In Juvenile Court, Terrence was accepted into the Juvenile Intervention & Faith-based Follow-up (JIFF) program, which seeks to provide mentoring and other support for youths who need redirection. Terrence explains how he found structure, motivation, and a passion for cooking through JIFF. In this short film, we also meet Grady Turner, Terrence’s mentor, who shows us that Terrence, and many other kids just like him, just needed a positive, encouraging male mentor — someone who really believed in him, someone who knew that he was a good kid who could do great things — to help him get on a more productive path. Now, Terrence is working to become the first man in his family to earn a high school diploma while embarking on a promising career in the kitchen.

Additional Resources

How to download the video for classroom use:

  1. Go to www.vimeo.com/183057365
  2. In the grey bar below the title, click “Download” vimeo-download-toolbar
  3. Click “Download” next to “HD 1080p”. The video will automatically start downloading.
  4. Test to see if your computer can play the video. If your computer doesn’t have a video player that can play .mp4 files, you can download VLC for free at http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html

 

Headways

For some, public transportation isn’t an option — it’s a necessity. But in the Birmingham, Alabama, metro area, a region consistently ranked one of the worst in the nation for its public transportation access, it’s a necessity that few actually rely on. Butch Ferrell counts himself among those — he has had epilepsy since childhood, so driving a car was never an option. He describes the inefficiency of the routes, the decrepit condition of the buses, and his own attempts to advocate for a better public transit system. The condition of the buses is in many ways a relic of segregation-era politics to prevent support for a system that primarily served poorer, black citizens: the state of Alabama is one of only five states in the nation that does not fund public transportation.  As a result, cities like Birmingham have grown over the past several decades, built for cars and the people who drive them — leaving people like Butch with no other option but to rely on the unreliable.

Additional Resources

How to download the video for classroom use:

  1. Go to www.vimeo.com/180633408
  2. In the grey bar below the title, click “Download” vimeo-download-toolbar
  3. Click “Download” next to “HD 1080p”. The video will automatically start downloading.
  4. Test to see if your computer can play the video. If your computer doesn’t have a video player that can play .mp4 files, you can download VLC for free at http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html

The Writer’s Journey

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Title: The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers

Author: Christopher Vogler

Published: November 1, 2007 (3rd ed.)

Book Summary:

See why this book has become an international best seller and a true classic. The Writer’s Journey explores the powerful relationship between mythology and storytelling in a clear, concise style that’s made it required reading for movie executives, screenwriters, playwrights, scholars, and fans of pop culture all over the world. The updated and revised third edition provides new insights and observations from Vogler’s ongoing work on mythology’s influence on stories, movies, and man himself.

Recommended section for Stories from the Line: pages 16 – 31

Available on Amazon.

Book Cover Image Source: The Writer’s Journey/Christopher Vogler